Winter 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2013 |

Death Mask of Sargon

Over the sensual, condescending smile of the Great King, the abyss of his left eye, gouged out, is the left eye of the abyss, his truest eye. Court sculptors made, broke, melted, cast, and recast copper and tin to flatter the king who "conquered the western land to its farthest point," in victory so "polluted with blood," the chronicles tell us, he offended his own god. At his death, rebels, emerging as artists, speared the true eye into Sargon's death mask. Two arts: one exquisite artifice, one rage—and Rage, having gouged the one eye, started on the other, until, in the greatness of his artistry, he stopped.

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Andrew Hudgins teaches at Ohio State University. His most recent book is American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. In June, Simon and Schuster will publish The Joker: A Memoir and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish A Clown at Midnight.

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